Botanical Medicine is simply the use of plants or substances that come from the plants such as the seeds, berries, leaves, bark, roots, stems or flowers for medicinal purposes (the treating of disease and promotion of health). These Botanical Remedies generally contain several biologically active ingredients and are used primarily for the treatment of chronic or mild conditions. In the case of acute or severe diseases, Botanical Medicine is often utilized in a complementary or supportive role to help effect specific diseases or balance potential side effects.
This use of Botanical Remedies is often referred to as Herbal Medicine, Herbalism or the use of Herbal Remedies, but technically Botanical Medicine utilizes many different parts of the plant beyond just the herbs.
In many cases, scientists aren’t sure what specific ingredient in a particular herb works to treat a condition or illness. Whole plants contain many ingredients, and they may work together to produce a beneficial effect. Many traditional herbalists believe that a healing energy inherent in the plants helps create the beneficial effects and not the chemical constituents alone. Many times, different herbs may be used together because the combination is more effective and may produce fewer side effects.
Since the government in the United States determines how substances are sold and regulated by placing them into categories, the majority of Botanical Medicines are classified as Dietary Supplements. A few botanicals are classified as pharmaceutical drugs (digitalis leaf is one). Dietary Supplements are regulated under the larger umbrella of food (not drugs) and include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more. Although research shows that many Botanical Medicines provide health benefits often without some of the risks or side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, Botanicals are not without risk. You should always be aware of any possible adverse reactions and because the Botanicals vary in strength from gentle remedies that can be eaten like food to potential lethal poisons, you should always seek the supervision of a qualified professional such as a Naturopathic Physician (NMD). Dr. Jacqueline Poulos, NMD is properly trained and qualified to assess your condition and recommend the appropriate remedies. The exact form and dosage will depend on the strength of the herb, the effects desired, your age and your constitution.
Botanicals are not always cheap, so you want to make sure you are spending your dollars on the right, quality product. We carry several Professional Grade product lines in our facility. Professional Grade simply means that they are held to a higher standard in the manufacturing process equating to better bio-availability (better utilization within the body) and a more consistent strength/dosage per the label.
History of Botanical Medicine
Long before recorded history, plants have been used by people for medicinal purposes. The confirmation of this use is found in the collection of long histories of folk medicine from all known cultures around the world. Researchers have found that the same or similar plants have been used for the same purposes by people in different parts of the world. Botanical Medicine offers remedies for almost every ailment affecting every body system.
Scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants in the early 19th century when chemical analysis first became available. As knowledge and the process progressed, chemists began to make their own version of plant compounds and we experienced the birth of pharmaceuticals and the eventual decline over time in the use of Botanical Remedies in favor of drugs. Yet still today, approximately 25% of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals.
The United States has seen an increase in the use of Botanical Medicine during the last couple of decades. This is due to an increased interest on the part of the consumer in returning to natural or organic remedies along with their general dissatisfaction with the cost of prescription medications and potential side effects and/or allergic reactions to these pharmaceuticals.
Botanical Medicines are one of the most popular and rapidly growing of all complementary therapies in the U.S. Nutraceuticals World reported that in 2010, the global retail sales of botanical dietary supplements amounted to more than $25 billion.
If you consistently develop diarrhea, nausea or headache within two hours of taking a remedy or herb, discontinue use immediately. Call your Health Care Provider if the symptoms are prolonged.
If you are pregnant or breast feeding, you are advised not to take medicinal amounts of herbs or remedies without first consulting a healthcare professional.